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Interview with the Founders of WhatsLoan: Empowering Borrowers and Revolutionizing BFSI with Digital Financial Identity.

Introduction about the Founder.

WhatsLoan a bootstrapped and profitable SaaS Fintech company was founded by Timmana Gouda and Vidya. Both the founders are from a farmer family background coming from North Karnataka. They are both MBAs with 10 & 20 years of experience with leading Banks. While Ms. Vidya was with HDFC Bank, Timmana Gouda was associated with Axis Bank in consumer lending, home mortgages in the product, credit, risk, and business roles. He started his career with the Weizmann Group in investment banking, corporate finance, and Housing Loans

About the WhatsLoan

WhatsLoan Neo Lending Platform was incorporated in Aug 2019. The company launched Housing Loans Platform in 2019, MSME Loans, and Agri Loans in 2020 for PSU Banks, Gramin Banks, NBFCs, and HFCs. The company has been a front runner with the Digital Kisan Card Platform under RBI New Guidelines for Digital Kisan Credit Cards from  Sept 2022.

The Idea and Concept

In response to the persistent challenges faced by the founders in their positions, working on existing core banking, loan management, loan origination, and processing systems, they found that they were ill-suited for borrowers and loan distribution channels in their current formats.

These systems operated with a lot of paper to digital documents and manual processes, resulting in long turnaround times for customers, increased data and document-based rejections, and high processing costs, for instance, home buyers face an inefficient and parallel process for home buying and home loans. As a result, the founder conceived and developed an integrated platform for Home Buying and Home Loans, drawing upon their extensive expertise in the home loans business. While other lending software providers focused on fixed license-based modules for lending, the founders of WhatsLoan took a visionary approach by reimagining customer segments at the RAM level (Retail, Agri, MSME).

They successfully developed micro modular cloud-based systems for origination, data and document validation, decision-making, and digital documentation. Co-working with existing Loan Management and Core Banking systems of banks and lenders, this innovative approach revolutionized the lending software landscape into a customer segment-based configurable micro modular platform in SaaS-based mode.

WhatsLoan seized the opportunity to pioneer MSME cash flow-based lending, even before the introduction of the OCEN system for cash flow-based solutions. They successfully developed a paperless, presence-less, and underwriter-less lending platform for small and medium-ticket loans secured, unsecured, and asset-based loans on a pay-per-loan file/SaaS model. Additionally, during the challenging times of the Corona pandemic, WhatsLoan demonstrated its agility and efficiency by delivering a platform for farmers as borrowers in just 3 months completely grounding up entering an unknown sector professionally, feeling the urge to solve the problem of access to quick credit for farmers coming from farming family background. This ground-breaking achievement was accomplished for a leading Gramin Bank-RRB in Karnataka, enabling digital access to agri, consumer, and MSME loans for farmers covering their 1100 branches, reaching 20,000 villages in quick time to impact  2.50 lac farmers over the last 3 years time. WhatsLoan Digital Kisan Credit Card(KCC) Platform built on RBI Guidelines of 2022, has been accepted as the first of its kind and most innovative, “Digital Direct 3 minutes KCC Platform ”  and deployed for Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh for leading Public Sector Bank.

With a forward-thinking vision, the founders of WhatsLoan aspire to transform the BFSI sector, particularly lending, from a product and service-oriented approach to one centered around fulfilling consumer needs through a close engagement model. They aim to embed loans seamlessly into various farmer, consumer, and business domains such as agri-techs, e-commerce platforms, home builders, and auto dealers.

To achieve this, WhatsLoan has been developing a groundbreaking solution called “Digital Financial Identity on Blockchain”(DFID). For Agri Lending  DFID is farmers, farms, crops, and cattle with unique digital identities, enabling them to access Agri loans easily.

As part of it, DFID Plans WhatsLoan will offer interoperable Farmer IDs, Consumer IDs, and Entity/Business Financial IDs for users on a subscription basis, further empowering borrowers, and BFSI consumers. This Unique DFID on blockchain will offer access to products/services to save, invest, insure, and borrow from providers.

Innovative and Uniqueness

WhatsLoan represents a cutting-edge NeoLending Platform that takes a digital direct approach to empower borrowers in working with banks and lenders. The platform has been innovatively developed using a micro modular architecture on the cloud, enabling swift and seamless deployments for retail consumers, agri, and MSME customer segments while catering to diverse loan product needs. Notably, WhatsLoan stands out as the pioneer in agri loans, particularly for Digital Kisan Credit Cards, marking a significant milestone in the industry. The company operates on a “pay per loan file” model, eliminating fixed costs for banks/ lenders, and emphasizing a flexible and efficient partnership approach.

Mission and Vision

WhatsLoan wants to touch millions of farmers, consumers, and small businesses, revolutionizing the BFSI landscape by empowering borrowers and consumers through Digital Financial Identity. By enabling omnichannel access to meet consumer and borrower needs, WhatsLoan seamlessly connects them with lenders and BFSI service providers. The platform goes beyond traditional KYC (Know Your Customer) norms, facilitating a paradigm shift to KYS (KnowYourSelf) through a user-consumer-driven Digital Financial ID. This ID is proposed to be created, owned, and controlled by the individuals themselves, putting them in charge of their financial journey. WhatsLoan’s approach transcends the traditional product-selling model, instead focusing on understanding and fulfilling consumer needs, thus establishing constant engagement. Furthermore, the platform emphasizes the concept of LTV (Life Time Value), offering enduring value to borrowers and consumers throughout their financial journey from a single integrated platform.

Products and Services

WhatsLoan is a NeoLending Platform for RAM: Retail, Agri, and MSME for Banks Lenders as a B2B Platform, enabling channels on a B2B2C model while creating B2C product -Digital Financial Identity on Blockchain.

The current problem and Solution

The accessibility of loans remains a challenge in the BFSI industry due to barriers such as paper-based KYC, onboarding, decision processes, and cumbersome documentation requirements. Banks often rely on outdated Core Banking Systems (CBS), Loan Management Systems (LMS), and Loan Origination Systems (LOS) that were primarily designed to support manual processes, resulting in high processing costs.

The Market and the Target Audience?

At WhatsLoan, the company’s top priority is the borrower, who is their valued customer. It collaborates closely with banks and lenders to address the borrower’s needs, including reducing turnaround times (TAT), increasing approval rates, enhancing convenience, and lowering costs. Its market encompasses a wide range of individuals and businesses, including 200 million farmers, 100 million consumers, and 66 million small businesses, all of whom face challenges in accessing loans and BFSI services.

The Success so far, Achievements, and Milestones.

WhatsLoan is a bootstrapped SaaS Fintech Company, that has achieved profitability through successful collaborations with major PSU Banks, Gramin Banks, Private Banks, HFCs, NBFCs, and MFIs. The company serves diverse customer segments, with a  focus on lower-income groups, small, marginal farmers, and small businesses. WhatsLoan has emerged as a frontrunner in the Agri Loan Platform space, in compliance with the new RBI guidelines for Digital Kisan Credit Cards. Additionally, it competes with established fintech and Loan Origination System (LOS) companies on other retail and MSME platforms, showcasing its ability to thrive in the competitive new age fintech market.

About the last funding round. 

The company is seeking the first seed round for the expansion with plans to raise funds from top early-stage VCs.

What do you think?

Written by Ravi Tilekar


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